Brighton Benefits Campaign recently received reports that the Brighthelm Centre has been making use of people on workfare in their garden. Today we took the Brighthelm a letter explaining the damage that the workfare regime causes – to the individuals forced to work for their benefits under threat of punitive sanctions, to the organisations who become involved in their exploitation, and to the wider community.
We had a helpful conversation with the manager. He denied that they were taking people on workfare, and said that they will ensure they don’t do so in future. We will be keeping our eye on them but this looks like a very good outcome. Hopefully the Brighthelm will also sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.
The Brighthelm is run by the United Reformed Church, which together with other churches involved in Church Action on Poverty produced a report earlier this year condemning the government’s attacks on benefits and particularly the sanctions regime.